No one would dispute that we are living in uncertain times, both in Japan and globally. We are facing increasingly complex questions, such as:
There are no easy answers, but one thing is certain – to address these questions we need a new generation of leaders who are deeply aware of what is happening in the world, and who have the skills, confidence and commitment to lead themselves, organisations and society in bold new directions. We need a leadership revolution, and it needs to start now.
One organization committed to doing just that is One Young World (OYW), a UK-based NPO established in 2009. Often referred to as “Young Davos”, it hosts a 3-day summit where high-potential young leaders (18-30) gather from around the world to effect positive change.
Held in a different country each year (Bogota, Colombia in 2017; The Hague, Netherlands, in 2018), the summit is a unique youth leadership development opportunity that gives attendees (referred to as Delegates) the chance to listen to and interact with leading world figures such as Kofi Annan, Sir Richard Branson, Mary Robinson, Paul Polman, and Emma Watson, on pressing world issues related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With delegates attending from a broad range of backgrounds from over 196 countries it is a unique opportunity to build diverse networks, and to debate, formulate and share innovative solutions that produce real, measurable change. Since OYW was launched, it is estimated that over 14.6 million people have been positively impacted by OYW participant-led initiatives.
For the delegates, the OYW experience is inspirational and transformative. It allows them to expand their awareness and develop their ability to become change agents who can make the world a better place. However, real sustainable behavioural change can only be developed through long-term continuous efforts and progress. Turning ideas and inspiration into action requires the development of new leadership skills, and the application of these new skills over time with ongoing guidance, support and feedback from other leaders.
With this purpose in mind, BCCJ member organisation Global Perspectives is collaborating with the official OYW Japan Committee and a group of highly experienced partners to deliver the Global Leader Accelerator (GLA), a youth leadership development program, in conjunction with the 2018 OYW summit in The Hague.
Through a combination of in-depth workshops, peer and professional coaching and company-specific projects aligned with the SDGs, the participants are immersed in a 6-month learning journey with the OYW summit in The Hague, Netherlands, as a centerpiece.
In addition to building the leadership skills, confidence and experience of the individual participants, the GLA program has a number of specific benefits to their sponsoring organisations.
Consistent with the Japanese government’s focus on encouraging organisations to align their practices with SDGs both domestically and globally, the SDG projects the participants take on during the program are an opportunity for organisations to demonstrate their corporate values and social commitment in a measurable and impactful way.
The program can also be promoted internally and externally to help attract and retain high-potential millennials who place significant value on professional development and the chance to feel that they are making a difference in the world.
Through the Global Leader Accelerator workshops and peer coaching in Japan, and the interactions at the OYW summit, participants build a diverse network across countries, sectors and industries. Many global organisations send delegates from their operations around the world, using it as an opportunity to bring together colleagues from different regions and backgrounds to foster deeper understanding and relationships.
This article originally appeared on the BCC Japan news site.